The Hongkong Ice Company Ltd, 1880-1919
HF: Before 1874, ice was imported [into Hong Kong] by the Tudor Ice Company from America. The sailing ships with the imported ice anchored close to the foot of Ice House Lane [“what was to become Ice House Street”?] and the ice blocks were stored in the government’s Ice Depot. Ice House Street was named accordingly.
“In Chinese, Ice House Street is 雪廠街. However, 雪廠 means ice factory, not ice house. Ice House Street took its name from the building used to store ice brought by ship from North America in the 1840s, before it was produced in the Dairy Farm complex elsewhere. Ice was never manufactured on Ice House Street!” (1)
In 1874, two Scotchmen erected two damp-air machines and used them to produce ice in Hong Kong. The machines were sold to Messrs. Jardine, Matheson & Co., who formed the business into the Hongkong Ice Company in 1879. [It appears to have been incorporated on 31st December 1880 and dissolved on 11th May 1919.]
The factory was built in East Point, Causeway Bay, and the two damp-air machines were replaced by three amonia compression machines. The ice produced was carted to the town depot but [for] shipping it was sent directly by boat, due to its convenience to the harbour.
In 1900, the company built a range of insulated cold stores and used them for storing meat, butter, etc. from Australia and supplied them to the British naval and military forces. In 1884 [?] the company bought the ice house from the government and turned it into an office and ice depot. (slightly amended from source 2)
- Signs of a Colonial Era, A Yanne and G Heller, HKU Press, 2009
- The Hong Kong Memory Project – Hongkong Ice Company Ltd
- Wright, Arnold, : Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and Other Treaty Ports of China: Their History. People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Publishing Company, Ltd., 1908.